What We Do
Friends of Ferals is a feral cat rescue group that was started by a group of women who came from different backgrounds of volunteer animal rescue. Although some of us were originally interested only in volunteering for adoptable dog and cat rescue, it became very apparent that there were relatively few volunteers interested in helping cats that could not be adopted: feral cats. These animals face a difficult existence looking for food, shelter, dealing with disease and parasitic infections, warding off other animals and even fighting among themselves for food and mates. Improving the lives of feral cats in our area is our mission. The animals we care for find themselves homeless for a variety of reasons. Some are abandoned pets from heartless owners who often leave them by dumpsters or on beaches, thinking they can grab garbage or dead fish to survive. However, most feral cats are born into this way of life. One feral male and female can start the creation of hundreds of feral cats in just a matter of years. In six months, a kitten can reproduce. In a relatively short time, the two stray cats someone might see in their backyard can grow to be many.
Our Feral Colony
Our feral colony is on a lovely tract of wooded land in eastern Long Island, which is on loan to us by a generous fellow animal lover. Here, the feral cats live out their lives running free, but with the security that they will be receiving regular meals and warm shelters. Since they are all neutered and provided with plentiful food, there is no violent fighting between them, and of course, no kittens. If a medical situation arises, we re-trap them and get them veterinary care. This all makes for a happy, secure life for a previously unwanted and unloved animal.
Spaying and Neutering
Spaying and neutering is the mainstay of feral cat rescue. Our group practices TNR - trap neuter, release/return. This is the most humane way of managing the feral cat population. We catch them using traps that do not harm them. We immediately have them spayed or neutered. During this surgery, we also have a feral cat's left ear "tipped' - removing the very point - which is a minor procedure that doesn't require sutures. This indicates to those rescuing feral cats that any tipped stray cats they may encounter, have been neutered already. If a feral female is heavily pregnant, we keep her in a separate space until she gives birth and finishes nursing her kittens. She is then spayed and her kittens are socialized by our volunteers. After they are socialized, we put them up for adoption. If the mother cat is feral, with no one willing to feed or care for her where she was found, she goes to live in our feral colony.
Adoptable Cats and Feral Cats
It is important for us to point out that for any of the cats we help, we would prefer to find them loving homes. Cats that are friendly receive all their medical care and are then put up for adoption. If the cat is feral but is being fostered by someone who wants to continue feeding and caring for them, we return them to the site after their spay/neuter heals and medical care is completed. We never release a feral cat unless there is someone promising to permanently care for them. We never will release a cat that is not neutered
The work that Friends of Ferals does to rescue feral and stray cats is costly. Even though we are an all-volunteer group, the cost of feeding and medical care for the cats adds up quickly. If surgeries, dental work or medications are required, we provide them. We never will release a cat that is not neutered, vaccinated and medically treated - and this includes our adoptable cats.
Our group is also trying to raise funds to replace the shelters we presently have at the feral colony. New cat shelters are currently designed to withstand the cold and inclement weather much better than the ones we have now, which are quite old.
Friends of Ferals does sponsor fundraisers, such as garage sales and psychic fairs, to help manage the expenses we accrue while caring for our cats. Our fundraiser leader has recently moved out of state and we are in the process of reorganizing to get some projects up and running again.
Please contact us if you would like to be on our Friends of Ferals e-mail list. Our e-mails provide information about our upcoming events and ways to let you know how you can support us!
To donate, please go to our GoFundMe page. Thank you in advance for your generosity!